With Veterans Day approaching, many communities are taking time to honor the men and women who serve our nation. In Duson, a new plaza was built to commemorate those who served. Freedom Plaza is located just off Interstate 10, west of Lafayette. The memorial was built by John Dan Gielen, owner of ShopRite Convenience Stores and Tobacco Plus Discount Stores in Louisiana.
The memorial has a granite monument with the names of those who gave their lives in combat service from World War II to the present. Four parishes are represented: Acadia, Lafayette, St. Landry and Vermillion parishes. Yusef Abdul Bellard of Church Point, served two tours of duty in Vietnam. "You reflect on all the things that you have done. A lot of things you don't want to remember."
The Commander of Post 24 in Lafayette stands in remembrance and in honor for those who could not be here. He hopes the memorial will be an eye opener for young people. "So many of them don't know what we did and it's got to be brought out to people so they will know what we did," says E. David Touchet.
Newly elected public service commissioner Scott Angelle extends words of respect. Angelle says Louisiana has over 350,000 veterans that have given their all. "They did it for a variety of reasons; none of them for power, none of them for glory and none of them for wealth. They all did if for freedom."
"This is great. I never seen anything so nice. It's beautiful. I hope all the cities do something like this. We need that," adds Touchet.